Human Trafficking Awareness Resources for Native Communities

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November 2022

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What's New with Blue?

Learn How to Shine a Light on Human Trafficking in Native Communities

Our People Are Sacred. Image of woman looking out the window with her reflection visible.

November is National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. Blue Campaign is honoring #NAHM by raising awareness of human trafficking, sharing what it can look like, and how communities can protect themselves. Human trafficking poses a unique threat to Native American people, including children, because traffickers operate under the assumption that Native victims are invisible to law enforcement and the greater community. It is Blue Campaign’s mission to bring this often-hidden crime to light. Take a moment to learn more and share Blue Campaign’s awareness and prevention resources:

Updated Blue Campaign Toolkits Now Available

Blue Campaign offers a variety of free human trafficking response guides geared toward various communities and industries. These toolkits provide an overview of human trafficking and its impacts, community-specific indicators, survivor-informed example scenarios, and critical reporting information. The following toolkits have been recently updated:

Save the Date: #WearBlueDay Is 50 Days Away

50 Days Until Hashtag Wear Blue Day

Have you marked your calendar yet? As of November 22, there will be 50 days remaining until National Human Trafficking Awareness Day on January 11, 2023. Blue Campaign observes this day by encouraging the public to wear blue and post a photo using the #WearBlueDay hashtag on social media. Whether it is a selfie, group photo, or video, be sure to wear blue! Follow Blue Campaign on social media (@DHSBlueCampaign on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) and stay tuned for our upcoming newsletters where we will share updates on what else is happening in January and how you can get involved.

BLI Corner

Blue Lightning Initiative Adds 28 New Partners During 2022 Fiscal Year

Aviation organizations across the country play a critical role in combatting human trafficking, and Blue Lightning Initiative (BLI) is proud to support their efforts. During the 2022 fiscal year, BLI acquired 28 new partners. BLI partnership opportunities allow for access to speeches, trainings, and more to educate airline personnel on how to recognize and report human trafficking. If you’re interested in making your organization a BLI partner, visit our website for more information.

CCHT Corner

CCHT Recognized with award from the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)

In October, the International Association of Chiefs of Police presented the Center for Countering Human Trafficking (CCHT) with the 2022 IACP Leadership in Human and Civil Rights Award. The award recognizes agencies who have demonstrated leadership in protecting fundamental rights. It showcases the achievements of agencies in protecting and promoting human and civil rights to enhance public trust and maintain cooperation and partnerships with communities. CCHT Director Cardell Morant accepted the award on behalf of the Center at the IACP’s annual conference in Dallas, Texas.

Sex and labor trafficking violate dignity and other basic human rights. The use of force, fraud, and coercion, which define human trafficking, debase both human and civil rights. The CCHT was recognized for its positive impact on the prevention, detection, and investigation of human trafficking in all its forms. The Center is a collaborative, coordinated effort across 16 supporting components and offices. It enhances DHS’ anti-trafficking efforts by leveraging the full breadth of DHS’s civil and criminal authorities, resources, and expertise. In helping to bring human traffickers to justice with an approach that is both victim-centered and trauma-informed, the Center helps to protect victims, while respecting and upholding human and civil rights. 

From the Field

HSI New York investigation, with CCHT support, results in sentencing of six Mexican nationals to significant imprisonment, restitution for sex trafficking offenses

A Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigation into six Mexican nationals who operated an international sex trafficking organization resulted in significant prison sentences for all six defendants. The last defendant was sentenced in mid-September to over 17 years in prison in connection with the trafficking of three victims. He had previously pleaded guilty to charges of sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion. In addition to his prison sentence, the defendant was ordered to pay over $2 million in restitution to the victims. 

The scheme involved minor victims in Mexico whom the traffickers isolated from family using multiple means, including sometimes making “romantic” promises to induce victims to leave their families and live with the traffickers. Victims were forced to work in commercial sex in Mexico, then smuggled to the U.S. where they were kept in shared apartments in New York City and forced to continue working in commercial sex.     

Once separated from their families, the victims’ communications were monitored by the traffickers, and they were kept locked in an apartment without food. Often, they were subjected to physical and sexual violence. 

“These individuals tormented their victims, using violence and threats to separate them from their families and force them into sex work,” said HSI New York Acting Special Agent in Charge Ricky J. Patel. “The victims of this trafficking organization were treated with unimaginable cruelty, and their resilience has been remarkable.  We hope that these significant sentences help to bring these survivors a measure of justice as they begin their journey to healing and recovery.” 

The CCHT provided analytical and funding support for this investigation, which was a partnership between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and HSI. More information about this case can be found in the U.S. Department of Justice press release.

News You Can Use

8 arrested in suspected human trafficking ring that may have victimized thousands: DOJ (ABC News)

Eight people were arrested on Tuesday, September 13 in connection with what federal authorities believe is a sprawling human smuggling and trafficking operation that may have victimized thousands of migrants. Erminia Serrano Piedra allegedly ran the operation along with seven others. The eight were arrested in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas on charges related to endangering human life. Authorities say that some of the victims were discovered in suitcases while others were crammed into the back of tractor trailers, pick-up trucks, and even water tankers as part of their journeys into and across the United States. HSI assisted in the investigation.

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and Thomson Reuters partner to launch ‘Be Safe’ Campaign

Recent data shows that, as Ukrainians continue to flee the war, the online demand for sexual services from vulnerable Ukrainians has increased dramatically. In response, the OSCE and Thomson Reuters have partnered to launch the 'Be Safe’ campaign. The ‘Be Safe’ campaign’s objective is to ensure Ukrainian people on the move are aware of the risks they face from human traffickers and can access the critical resources they need to stay safe. The public is encouraged to do their part by amplifying the ‘Be Safe’ campaign and sharing the Blue Campaign’s Uniting for Ukraine webpage.

Social Media Shareables

Tag Blue Campaign on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using @DHSBlueCampaign. Each month, we share content you can distribute on your social channels to raise awareness about human trafficking in your community.

For more information visit the Blue Campaign
To report suspected human trafficking: 1-866-347-2423
To get help from the National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888
or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733)